By George Slaughter
Having a bye week is nothing unusual in football. Having two consecutive bye weeks can be a cause for concern. But Seven Lakes needn’t have worried, as it earned a 38-26 homecoming win against Mayde Creek Friday night at Legacy Stadium.
The win puts the Spartans, now 2-4 overall and 2-2 in District 19-6A, in control of their playoff destiny. They will clinch a playoff spot with a win in their next game, which is against Cinco Ranch. Katy and Tompkins have captured two of the four district playoff spots. Taylor appears to be the favorite for the other spot.
Mayde Creek falls to 4-3 overall and 1-3 in district.
The Spartans got to work on Mayde Creek’s first possession. On a punt, Rams sophomore punter Jacob Campos-Flores bobbled a bad deep snap from center. He recovered and made his kick, only to have it blocked by Spartans senior defensive back Emilio Ramos. Spartans junior quarterback Scott Stanford recovered the ball at the Rams 5, and took it in for the touchdown.
The mishap was the first, but not the last, for Mayde Creek. The Rams had 17 penalties for 90 yards. Seven Lakes had seven penalties for 80 yards.
Seven Lakes scored on its first possession, with a 26-yard pass from senior quarterback Christian Beltran to junior wide receiver Grayson Medford.
Trailing by 14 at this point, the Rams needed a quick strike to get back into the game. They got it on their next possession, on a 66-yard run by senior running back Julius Loughridge.
Seven Lakes responded with a quick strike of its own, a 68-yard screen pass from Beltran to senior running back Nick David-West and ended the first quarter scoring.
Loughridge came back with a 90-yard touchdown run, right through the middle of the Seven Lakes defense, early in the second quarter. The seven-point deficit was as close as the Rams would get all night. Loughridge, among the top rushers in the district, finished the game with 191 yards on 20 carries.
The Spartans responded on their next possession, scoring on a 38-yard pass from Beltran to sophomore wide receiver Beau Clewett with 7:25 in the first half. This score gave the Spartans a 28-14 lead they took into halftime.
Seven Lakes coach Jimmy Hamon praised Beltran’s play. Beltran finished the game 7-of-9 for 162 yards.
“He made some really good decisions,” Hamon said.
Beltran said the running and passing games were working for the Spartans, who finished with 350 yards total offense Friday. He said he and his teammates watched the Mayde Creek-Morton Ranch game film when preparing for Friday’s game.
“We saw a lot of things we could expose,” Beltran said. “They’re a good team, but we came in here confident.”
Beltran scored on a one-yard quarterback sneak with 6:25 remaining in the third quarter. Junior kicker Keegan Sneedon’s 29-yard field goal with 6:10 remaining put the Spartans up 38-14. Sneedon kicked all the extra points for Seven Lakes.
The game was decided by this point, but Mayde Creek came back with two touchdowns. They both came on 18-yard passes from senior quarterback Jace Wilson to senior wide receiver Alpha Khan. In both cases, the Rams went for two-point conversions. Both attempts failed.
The two-week delay came as the Katy Independent School District juggled sports schedules as the coronavirus pandemic continues to affect the community. Seven Lakes High School closed temporarily, from October 29-November4, due to the number of coronavirus cases among its students and staff.
“We got a lot of time to work, and that was great,” Seven Lakes senior defensive lineman Hayden Pratt said. “We had time to get a lot of guys healthy, and I think that really helped people going into this game, just getting people rested.”
Beltran agreed with Pratt that getting people healthy for Friday was important.
“Conditioning was a big emphasis,” Beltran said. “We were a little nervous coming in, but we had confidence and we were ready.”
The Cinco Ranch-Seven Lakes game is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday at Rhodes Stadium. The Rams next play Tompkins. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. Thursday at Legacy Stadium.
David-West, like his teammates, are aiming for that playoff berth.
“We were talking about this all summer (making the playoffs),” David-West said. “This was our number-one goal.”